Friendship, understanding and good fellowship between the people of Australia and Asia

Email from Dr. Kiran Martin

Subject: Asha Covid-19 Emergency Response Update
To: <info@aaavic.asn.au>

 

Dear Mary,

This Covid19 update from the 91 slums in Delhi where Asha is working, is an update that is not easily available in general, because most stakeholders have not entered the lanes and streets of the slums ever since the pandemic began. There is understandable fear and anxiety among outsiders due to the density, the poverty, the poor infrastructure, the ignorance, the impossibility of keeping distance, and the high possibility of contracting the disease. 

The Asha team of course, as you may know, swung into action right from the start. Our team and volunteers have been reaching out to every individual and family with a variety of emergency interventions. 

India has now crossed 7 million recorded cases, with about 75000 recorded cases being added daily. The recorded cases in India are a small fraction of all Covid19 infections, and it is estimated that India has already had more than 50 million infections. 

Our daily presence in the Asha slums is showing that the dark clouds of disease, hunger and joblessness prevail, continuing to bring much misery to the poor. Rickshaw pullers returning without any rides for the day, construction workers coming home without work, factory workers being paid a fraction of an already meagre wage, loaders and cart pullers returning empty handed, hawkers and ware sellers sitting at home; it’s a common and disturbing sight. 

Children, women, the elderly, and the vulnerable are rapidly falling into malnutrition. Two meals a day is a luxury, and the meals are poor in nutritional content. For children, it will mean lasting damage if not arrested immediately. 

Asha is continuing to provide grocery bags as much as possible, and is running special clinics for vulnerable groups. Asha’s Supplementary Nutrition Programme is critical to provide nutrients to those falling into malnutrition. 

Treatment for non Covid illnesses is extremely hard to get for the poor, because the Covid19 crisis has absorbed the already stretched resources of the public health services. Routine immunisations have been discontinued, and the risk of the return of vaccine preventable childhood illnesses is high. Where will they go? Asha has begun baby clinics and clinics for non Covid illnesses. 

Here are some pictures to give you a sense of the situation in our communities: 

At a time like this, you have walked with us through the lanes and by lanes in the Asha slum communities, standing for the marginalised, the oppressed, the downtrodden, for those without hope and without love, forsaken and left alone. You and us, we have demonstrated tenderness in their fears and anguish, consistency in their insecurity, and have never abandoned them, never been too busy for them. 

Our togetherness in this vast mission has touched and saved thousands of lives. This emergency is long and uncertain, and we must continue our interventions with loyalty and commitment for as long as is necessary. 

Your living by the highest and noblest of values gives me so much encouragement. I receive the strength to lead my team with boldness and enthusiasm. 

Just as a reminder, donation details can be found in the link below: 

http://www.australianfriendsofashaslums.org.au/donation/

Please feel free to email messages to the team, or to me. Your words will lift up our spirits! With much gratitude for your ever present support and prayers. 

 

Kiran Martin

Dr. Kiran Martin
Padma Shri
Founder & Director
Asha Community Health & Development Society
Ekta Vihar, R.K. Puram, Sector 6, New Delhi - 110022, India
Phone: +911126716409
Website: www.asha-india.org 

Blog: drkiranmartin.wordpress.com
Twitter: twitter.com/DrKiranAsha
Facebook: facebook.com/ashasociety1